Using Assessment Results
This article summarizes how and when the system of assessment should be used. The discussion will relate to preschool and primary-grade children rather than infants and toddlers. In keeping with the premise that assessment should benefit the child and improve learning, three primary purposes for comprehensive assessment throughout the year can be reviewed: planning for instruction, reporting progress, and evaluating the instructional program continuously from the beginning until the end of the school term.
Using Assessment Results to Plan for Instruction
If assessments should benefit the child, then assessments in preschool and primary-grade settings should be linked to learning experiences and instruction. If they are to be fair for all children and authentic, they include all types of strategies that provide a comprehensive picture of each child’s progress and needs. The teacher selects the assessment methods that are relevant to the information needed and uses the results in planning for curriculum and instruction. This assumes that the teacher is concerned with individual rates of development and learning and is prepared to address individual differences. The learning activities that are available in the classroom and through teacher instruction reflect not only curriculum goals established by the school, but also how each child can best achieve these goals.
Using Assessment Results to Report Progress
The limitations of report cards were discussed earlier in relationship to the broader information provided by performance assessments. Just as we need multiple assessment strategies to assess young children, these assessment strategies should be used to report how the child has developed and what has been learned. If the assessment system is comprehensive, the method to report the child’s progress should also be comprehensive and provide many examples of how the child demonstrated growth and achievement. Parents receive limited information from reports that rate a child average, above average, or below average in preschool settings. Likewise, a report that indicates that the child’s progress is satisfactory or unsatisfactory tells little about the child’s learning experiences and accomplishments. Rather than a snapshot of progress, a comprehensive picture of the child should be conveyed in the progress report, regardless of whether the child is in preschool or the primary grades.
© ______ 2008, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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